Books: Brazilian Loser

DOM CASMURRO (283 pp.)—Machado de Assis—Noonday ($3.50).

When Machado de Assis' Epitaph of a Small Winner was published in the U.S. last summer (TIME, July 31), reviewers set up a cheer over the strange new star caught in their literary telescopes. Acclaimed in his own land and lifetime (1839-1908) as Brazil's greatest man of letters, Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis would doubtless have relished the irony of this posthumous foreign recognition for a novel whose hero is a garrulous ghost, bent on describing his own small genius for failure while alive. Dom Casmurro is a more poignant and more muted Epitaph...

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